Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Introducing: Soft Power

When I heard Mary Timony's new project, Soft Power had scheduled a show in town I was more than a little excited. Then I heard the two tracks that are posted on the bands myspace page, and I'm down right giddy at the prospect of catching this band Live. Soft Power is Mary Timony, T.J. Lipple (Aloha), Jonah Tagaki, and Winston Yu. Timony has returned to familiar territory, but this is not a Helium retread. Soft Power deliver smart angular rock not unlike her beloved former band, but there's added elements of psych and kraut rock thrown in, the results are more than impressive.

Don't miss out when Soft Power play TT The Bears Sunday with support from Dave Derby's, (x-Dambuilders) Gramercy Arms.

[Mp3/Stream] Soft Power - La La La
[Mp3/Stream] Izabella

Soft Power myspace

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Elephant Jokes

With albums credited to Circus Devils, Boston Spaceships,Cosmos, and a solo album already released this year it looks like Robert Pollard is just getting warmed up because on August 11th he'll unveil his thirteenth album under his given name. Elephant Jokes comes via Guided By Voices, Inc. and is comprised of 22 songs that clock in just over the 46 minute mark. The two tracks that I've heard are fantastic, and dare I say classic Pollard. Expect big guitar riffs (provided by Pollard himself) and smart pop hooks. Coming to a record store near you to satisfy your late summer rock and roll fix courtesy of The Fading Captain.

Marc Woodworth, Author of Bee Thousand (33 1/3 Press) did a bang up job writing the press release for Elephant Jokes :
I’m sick and tired of all you backward-looking crybabies. You know who you are: "If only it were 1994..." The present is the new past! So lay down the terrible burden of your quest for perfection. Inspired spontaneity is what you truly want! And there’s an abundance of the real thing on Elephant Jokes, a record released this very year by Robert Pollard who rocks and cerebrates and cuts up through 22 songs in 46.1 minutes. 1994? Were you even alive then? How alive? Not as alive as Robert Pollard is right now—working the boards, finding the words still jump when he says jump and the guitar chimes when he forms the chords on the 6-string with his honest-to-God DIY, home-made calluses. A clutch of these songs started out live in the studio, with Mr. Pollard on guitar, and they buzz with the charge of on-the-spot generation. All the secret ingredients go into the mix—even Mr. P’s brother, the estimable outside shooter Jimmy Pollard returns to tweak a few knobs—and the result is music that comes alive with that sui generis Dayton grit and sparkle. Check out the needling, obsessive riff on the intro to "When A Man Walks Away"—no mistaking the Pollard touch there—or the distortion-drenched start of "Epic Heads" where you can fairly smell the heat rise from the solid state circuit board. You want nostalgia? OK, here’s some nostalgia. Think music as real and unselfconscious as anything since Same Place the Fly Got Smashed or songs alive with Alien Lanes’ aesthetic but even hookier and smarter ("Stiff Me"? Are you kidding? Pure gold). Music that sounds just like friends playing for the fun of it in the family basement (so the family’s grown up and moved away, it’s a different house, and it’s not exactly a basement anyway, but I defy you to hear the difference). On Todd Tobias’ playground, everything’s possible, same as it ever was. Ocarina and kiddie chord organ on "Jimmy" with a drum beat as pared down as Hot Freak's trusty old 4/4? Check. A turn on guitar by Tim Tobias, GBV '99 -’03. Uh Huh. A verbal landscape where angels look like hell and Cyclops calls for his perverted eyelash? Did you expect anything less? If Bob playing guitar and getting new songs down with that kind of freshness and variety is your idea of a good time then I want to have a couple of beers with you and sit around telling Elephant Jokes all night with the volume up so loud all we can see is our mouths making the shapes of unbridled laughter.
- Marc Woodworth, author, Bee Thousand (33 1/3 Press)

Check out the two tracks that were just posted on

[MP3/Stream] Symbols and Heads

[MP3/Stream] Jimmy

Elephant Jokes track listing:
Things Have Changed (Down in Mexico City)
Johnny Optimist
When a Man Walks Away
Parts of Your World
Symbols and Heads
I Felt Revolved
Epic Heads
Stiff Me
Compound X
Accident Hero
Tattered Lily
Hippsville (Where the Frisbees Fly Forever)
Newly Selected Dirt Spots
Pigeon Tripping
Spectrum Factory
Perverted Eyelash
Cosmic Yellow Children
Blown Out Man
(All You Need) to Know
Architectural Nightmare Man

Thanks to Rich Turiel for his assistance and for putting up with all my questions.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Show Alert
Wilco with Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band
Saturday brings what just might be the show of the summer to the area. Wilco continue on their tour of minor league baseball stadiums when they play Lelacheur Park in Lowell, otherwise know as home to The Lowell Spinners. The AGP staff will be on hand to witness our first rock show in a baseball stadium and I for one am looking forward to hearing the excellent new material found on the bands just released Wilco(The Album).

The pairing with Conor Oberst as the opener is an added bonus to say the least. Conor Oberst and The Mystic Valley Band will open the show with their multi-textured Americana folk. The band is on tour in support of their sophomore album Outer South (Merge).

Gates open at 5:30 with the show scheduled to begin at 7PM
Tickets are still available through Higherground/Frontgatetickets

Lowell Spinners/Lelacheur Park

From the NPR Archives: [MP3/Stream]
Check out this performance and interview culled from the NPR archives from 2005 shortly after Wilco picked up two Grammy Awards for A Ghost Is Born

Wilco on NPR's Talk of The Nation with Neal Conan 02/24/05

The Late Greats
Remember The Mountain Bed
Muzzle of Bees
Handshake Drugs

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Show Prep
Wilco- One Wing
Is it too early for some pre-show hype? I certainly hope not.
We'll have an official show preview tomorrow but this will do nicely until then. Recorded last year when Wilco played Lollapalooza in Chicago. A still in the works early version of One Wing which you can now find on Wilco (The Album).

Friday, July 3, 2009

New (American) Music

The fireworks have been acquired, the grills are ready to be lit, and the coolers are overflowing. However before I head out to enjoy this years Independence Day festivities I thought I'd take the opportunity to share some new tracks from some of Americas finest.

Spoon have just released their first recording since releasing Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga back in 2007. This past Tuesday Brit Daniel and Co. released Got Nuffin, a three song single via Merge. Be sure to check out the title track below and good luck not getting it stuck in your head for the next two days. Spoon are set to play their own festival, SpoonX3 in Austin as well as Merge's 20th anniversary festival, XXMerge later this month.

[MP3] Spoon - Got Nuffin


San Diego's,The Black Heart Procession will deliver their new album on October 6th. The band will release Six through their new label Temporary Residence and return to the economical approach to naming albums. They released One, Two, and Three earlier in their career. Earlier this week the band posted the track Rats and I have to say it sounds pretty great.

[MP3] The Black Heart Procession - Rats

The Black Heart Procession/myspace

I was taken by surprise earlier this week when Matador announced the release of The Reel Feel, the new release from Pavement's Scott Kannberg and his first proper solo album under the Spiral Stairs moniker. The album was recorded in Seattle and features his old band mates from Preston School of Industry as well Ian Moore, Jon Aur (The Posies), and Kevin Drew (Broken Social Scene). The Reel Feel hits stores worldwide on October 20th. Maltese Terrier was posted on the Matador site earlier this week and it couldn't have come a better time. It's nice slab of summer pop goodness. Welcome back Spiral.

[MP3]Spiral Stairs - Maltese Terrier